Bud Norris pitched eight shutout innings tonight as the Orioles sailed to an easy 4-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. It was a night of unicorn sightings, as we witnessed Chris Davis bunt for a base hit, Nick Markakis hit a home run that would have landed on Eutaw Street if not for a pesky flag pole, and Tommy Hunter recording a 1-2-3 inning. In fact, the only disappointing thing about this game is that the Orioles fell one run short of getting us all half-priced pizza tomorrow.
The Orioles got the only run they'd need tonight in the bottom of the first inning as Adam Jones hit his 10th home run of the year. It was the first of three home runs the Orioles hit against Jake Peavy on the night, and went on a line drive to center field.
It remained a one-run game through 4 1/2 innings as Norris was outstanding and Peavy had a decent stretch himself. Norris allowed the first batter he faced, Brock Holt, to reach on a single, but Holt was thrown out by Caleb Joseph trying to steal. After that Norris retired 13 in a row before Daniel Nava doubled with two outs in the fifth inning. It could have been more than 13, as Nava's hit bounced just past Davis' glove at first base. But Norris didn't mind. He got the next batter out on a comebacker on the first pitch.
As for Peavy, he got into some trouble in the fourth inning but the Orioles couldn't capitalize. Adam Jones led off with a single and, with the infield shifted way around to the right on Chris Davis, Davis dropped a bunt down the third base line. It wasn't quite hard enough to get past the pitcher, but Peavy couldn't make a good throw and Davis beat it out for a single. The call was originally out, but in the fastest challenge I've seen to date (27 seconds), it was overturned. So how about that? Maybe Davis got tired of hearing how the game last Friday would have been over if he had bunted down the third base line. Unfortunately the Orioles couldn't capitalize on the heads up play.
They did add on to their lead in the very next inning, thanks to a serious home run by Markakis. With Ryan Flaherty on base, Markakis hit a 2-1 curve ball deep into right field. It looked to be headed to Eutaw Street but had the misfortune of being directly in line with one of the flag poles on the flag court. Eutaw Street or no, it was Nick's sixth home run of the year and gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead. The O's fourth and final run also came on a home run, a solo shot by Flaherty in the seventh inning.
While the O's offense was hitting homers, their pitcher Bud Norris was cruising. He got into his first bit of trouble in the sixth inning as he issued two walks, but he got the final two batters to end the inning, with J.J. Hardy making a nice play on a sharply hit ball by Dustin Pedroia. Norris walked another in the seventh inning with two outs, which was a little frustrating, but I guess if you're only going to give up three hits in eight innings, you can also afford to give up a few walks.
In Bud's final inning, the eighth, he gave up a one-out double to David Ross, just his third hit allowed of the day. Ross moved to third base on on a ground out but was stranded when Norris struck out Xander Boagarts to end the inning and his night. Ross was the only Red Sock to reach third base in the game.
Just returned from the DL yesterday, Tommy Hunter got his first chance to pitch in weeks in the ninth inning. When last we saw Hunter he was giving up hits and runs all over the place, and he came in tonight to face three of the Red Sox best hitters to try and finish the game. It's only been one game so far, but post-DL Tommy is much more enjoyable to watch pitch than pre-DL Tommy. He quickly retired Pedroia, David Ortiz (on one pitch!) and Mike Napoli to end the game. O's win!
- Manny Machado, who apologized for his antics during the A's series before the game, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a double play ball. He was very well behaved the entire time.
- Adam Jones had three hits on the night, his sixth three-hit game of the season. He now has 15 hits in eight games in June.
- Brian Matusz didn't pitch in this game, but that didn't stop him from being red and sweaty in the bullpen as though he had just run a marathon.
- Despite being against the Red Sox, this game clocked in at a speedy 2 hours, 21 minutes.
*Correction: I originally said this was Hunter's first 1-2-3 inning of the season, but he in fact had a 1-2-3 inning on 4/26 against the Royals. I guess my brain was so addled by the appearances leading up to Hunter's DL stint that I had forgotten all about them. Thanks to @ebooksyearn for pointing it out.